Stop Oil Trains 2020


Thursday, June 25 to July 2, regional actions remember Lac-Mégantic and Mosier disasters

North Idaho and eastern Washington activists invite everyone to participate in the seventh annual, Stop Oil Trains week of training workshops and direct actions on Thursday, June 25, through Thursday, July 2.  Six events honor and commemorate the 47 lives lost and downtowns devastated by oil train derailments, spills, explosions, and fires in the lakeside village of Lac-Mégantic, Quebec, on July 6, 2013, the Columbia River Gorge town of Mosier, Oregon, on June 3, 2016, and all rail corridor communities threatened and degraded by crude oil pipelines-on-rails.

During the seven years since the Lac-Mégantic tragedy, dozens of similar accidents have wrecked public and environmental health and safety and the global climate – more than in the previous four decades.  Nonetheless, Burlington Northern Santa Fe (BNSF) Railway moves 22 volatile, Bakken crude oil trains every week, while Union Pacific hauls one to two trains of equally explosive and irretrievably sinkable tar sands per week, along and over rivers, lakes, and tributaries throughout north Idaho and the Northwest, such as the Kootenai, Clark Fork, Pend Oreille, Spokane, Columbia, and other water bodies.  Over 90 percent of these shipments must cross rail bridges above downtown Sandpoint and Spokane and almost one mile over Idaho’s largest, deepest lake, Pend Oreille, where BNSF plans to drive 1000-plus piles into train-spewed, lake and stream bed, coal deposits, threatened bull trout critical habitat, and regional lake and aquifer drinking water, to construct three permanent, parallel, second (and later third) railroad bridges, two temporary, work spans, and two miles of doubled tracks west of the current rail line, for riskier, more derailment-vulnerable, bi-directional, oil and other train traffic.

Wild Idaho Rising Tide (WIRT) and inland Northwest communities in the crosshairs of the coal, oil, and railroad industries continue to actively oppose BNSF’s fossil fuels pipeline-on-rails expansion, through public vigilance, education, protests, and lawsuits, as we monitor project activities and prepare litigation challenging environmental and socioeconomic reviews and permit decisions by federal and state agencies.  With #No2ndBridge construction intensifying and extending into the lake, we are coordinating and requesting your involvement in these yearly, regional, Stop Oil Train actions.  Sandpoint, Spokane, Moscow, and Missoula activists of 350, Direct Action, Occupy, Palouse Environmental Sustainability Coalition, WIRT, and allied, conservation and climate groups have hosted and participated with thousands of people around the Northwest and North America, in multiple, public, Stop Oil Trains demonstrations, climate strikes, #No2ndBridge and derailment spill protests, and the one-year anniversary convergence supporting Mosier [1-6].

Please join concerned citizens in these upcoming outreach, training, and demonstration events, to demand an immediate ban of Alberta tar sands and Bakken shale oil extraction and train and pipeline transportation, refusing to let Big Oil jeopardize our air, waters, lands, families, friends, homes, and businesses.  Together, in appreciation and solidarity with grassroots and indigenous, environmental and social justice activists across Canada and the U.S., we are organizing various tactics and resources to stage powerful, effective actions defending and protecting frontline communities and the global climate impacted by oil-by-rail pollution and accidents.  Thanks to everyone who has provided invaluable, relevant information, connections, and on-the-ground support for these summer events and ongoing, regional, fossil fuels opposition.  We welcome your ideas, questions, suggestions, and assistance at these upcoming actions.  Reply through WIRT contact channels or on-site, and expect further, issue descriptions and updates, via WIRT facebook posts and website pages.

Train Watch Workshop by 350 Seattle

Thursday, June 25, 6 pm, Gardenia Center, Sandpoint

For the seventh annual, training sessions on regional coal, oil, and tar sands trainspotting, David Perk of 350 Seattle in Washington will present methods for track-side observing, documenting, and reporting Northwest fossil fuel train traffic, via photos, videos, and social media.  He will discuss rail routes from the plains to the coast, train descriptors, refinery and receiving facilities, regular rail system operations, stopovers, and transit times, and train watch motivations and resources.  Please RSVP for required registration to join this appreciated, teleconferenced conversation with David, generously sharing images, skills, insights, and handouts beginning at 6 pm on Thursday, June 25, at the Gardenia Center, 400 Church Street in Sandpoint, Idaho.  WIRT needs more train monitors, especially along the Union Pacific tracks of the north Idaho, fossil fuels frontline, to document for the #IDoiltrainwatch and #WAoiltrainwatch westbound, unit trains of black tanker cars hauling Alberta tar sands and Bakken crude oil.

Spotlight Message Projection

Friday, June 26, 9 pm, Downtown Sandpoint

Saturday, June 27, 9 pm, Downtown Spokane

As the sun sets, WIRT and allied organizers will provide brief, light projection displays of social and climate justice messages on tall buildings in downtown Sandpoint, Idaho, and Spokane, Washington.  Meet after 9 pm, respectively on Friday, June 26, and Saturday, June 27, wherever you see this light show, for discussions among activists and curious passersby, about Northwest oil train and terminal issues.

#No2ndBridge Outreach & March

Saturday, June 27, 9 am to 1 pm, Farmin Park, Sandpoint

Saturday, June 27, 2 pm, Farmin Park to Long Bridge, Sandpoint

Gather with volunteer activists and citizens between 9 am and 1 pm on Saturday, June 27, at the WIRT outreach table under the Farmin Park clock at Third and Main streets, during the Farmers Market at Sandpoint, Idaho.  We plan to talk with residents and visitors of the one-mile-wide, north Idaho “bomb train blast zone,” offer updates on Northwest oil and coal trains and terminals and BNSF’s second railroad bridges, and provide #No2ndBridge and other petitions, flyers, and brochures [7-9].

By 2 pm on Saturday afternoon, June 27, bring your family, friends, neighbors, co-workers, protest signs, COVID-19 face masks, and creative spirit, to show community resistance to oil trains and accommodating rail infrastructure, like the present and proposed, BNSF rail bridges.  Starting from the Farmin Park clock, we will walk with banners and signs protesting the Northwest pipeline-on-wheels and railroad expansion, through downtown Sandpoint and on the Serenity Lee trail, to Dog Beach Park and the pedestrian span paralleling the U.S. Highway 95 Long Bridge.  At these public destinations, we will share reflections and stories about the isolated vulnerability of rural, rail corridor communities to oil train and derailment catastrophes and industry invasions of local environments and economies.

#No2ndBridge Petition Delivery

Week of Monday, June 29, & later, Regional agency offices

At community gatherings, protests, and the outreach tables of WIRT and allies, hundreds of visiting and resident, Northwest citizens have signed the #No2ndBridge Petition to Deny and Revoke Permits for the BNSF Sandpoint Junction Connector Project [7].  We are planning late-June/early-July petition delivery to the state and federal agencies responsible for permitting decisions on BNSF’s proposed, north Idaho, bridge and track expansions.  The #No2ndBridge petition supports regional opposition to BNSF’s scheme and the insufficiency of government, environmental reviews, by increasing citizen comments, testimony, and other public input.  It exposes the myriad, significant, adverse, and cumulative impacts to watershed, environmental, and public health and safety imposed by railroad bridge construction and operation.  Additionally, it includes these concerns as evidence of unaddressed issues in the administrative record, and preserves rights and bolsters claims objecting to permit decision outcomes and resulting harms.

BNSF’s $100 million, rail infrastructure gamble threatens the natural amenities foundation of the Sandpoint area tourism and recreation economy, degrades lake and aquifer water and air quality, and jeopardizes many values, interests, and aspects of our lives and livelihoods, as described in the petition.  This railroad expansion could also potentially, if not willfully, escalate the traffic, noise, toxic coal and diesel pollution, and derailment dangers of fossil fuels and hazardous materials trains that WIRT and Northwest rail corridor residents have actively disputed through numerous public comments, hearings, protests, and court cases during the last decade.  Please sign, share remarks, and widely circulate this informal petition that concludes with a “request that local, state, and federal, elected, appointed, and agency officials conduct rigorous reviews and analyses of this project, including environmental impact studies and statements, and denounce, deny, and revoke all permits for this negligent and culpable project” [7].  Thanks!  #No2ndBridge for Bomb Trains!

[1] Fossil Fuels Train Pollution Protest Report, February 8, 2020 Wild Idaho Rising Tide

[2] Climate Strike and USACE Permit Protest, December 3, 2019 Wild Idaho Rising Tide

[3] BNSF Bridges Coast Guard EA Protest 9-21-19, September 25, 2019 Wild Idaho Rising Tide

[4] Stop Oil Trains 2019 Actions, June 25, 2019 Wild Idaho Rising Tide

[5] Stop Oil Trains in Idaho: July 5-7, 2018 Actions, July 1, 2018 Wild Idaho Rising Tide

[6] Sandpoint and Spokane Stand with Mosier, May 29, 2017 Wild Idaho Rising Tide

[7] Petition to Deny and Revoke Permits for the BNSF Sandpoint Junction Connector Project, September 30, 2018 Wild Idaho Rising Tide

[8] Do You Live in an Oil Train Blast Zone? 2020 Stand.Earth

[9] North American Crude by Rail, 2020 Oil Change International

1 thought on “Stop Oil Trains 2020

  1. Pingback: Idaho: Regional actions commemorate Lac-Mégantic and Mosier oil train disasters – Rising Tide North America

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